Too Hot to Trot

"Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools" (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

It was day seven of a two-week, 95 degree and above heat wave. I was thinking our homeschool family had done fairly well in not letting our tempers rise like the thermometer's mercury; however, as I walked outside to do the evening chores, I noticed several jobs left undone by my children. Frustrated with their poor performance, I continued to the barn to feed the horses and noticed my daughter riding her horse bareback in the arena. Dripping wet, the horse appeared to be sweating profusely. Angrily, I barked, "Don't you know that you shouldn't be riding that horse when it's this hot outside? Cool that animal down right now and get those chores done like I asked!"

As my daughter cowered and walked past me, I saw the hurt expression on her face. My angry outburst had wounded her spirit, and I knew that I needed to make short order of asking forgiveness. Walking up to her, I said, "I'm sorry, honey. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that."

"That's OK, Mom," she replied. "I forgive you. I'm sorry I didn't get the chores done like you asked. I was just waiting for it to cool down before working outside, and the reason my horse looked wet wasn't from sweat, it was actually from the water that I used to cool her off. I was just riding her from the pasture to the barn to put her in the shade."

Humbled by her loving response to my false accusations of irresponsibility, I asked forgiveness again and said, "I'm so sorry. How foolish I was to get so angry without even asking you a few simple questions!"

Anger may be a real human emotion, but like any other emotion, it should never be dictated or controlled by the flesh, no matter what the temperature is outside. Galatians 5:20 tells us that the Lord views wrath as a work of the flesh, and James 1:20 says, "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." God's remedy for controlling anger's destructive outbursts includes bridling the tongue (James 3:5-6) and allowing the Holy Spirit to help us be "swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19). If homeschooling and the summer heat are getting to you, take a step back, count to ten, and pray for God's help to see and hear the problems for what they are: opportunities to display His grace instead of your anger. "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding" (Proverbs 14:29a).

Father, forgive me when I allow anger to control my emotions and destroy my relationships. Help me instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and remember that true love is always patient, kind, and long-suffering. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Comments(9 comments)

LISA K 07/18/2009 05:24:03

I love AO's devotionals. I began receiving them even before we used any AO curriculum. I read and try to heed them, forward them to encourage friends, and also forward them to my husband as good reminders. He appreciates them as neither of us had solid or Christian upbringings. We so appreciate the parenting "advice."

Thank you, AO for providing them to my inbox. They are well written, honest, and Biblically on the mark. They are such good reminders of how God loves us and wants us to respond to Him and others, especially our precious children who I want to be raised in a completely different way than I was.

TINA B 07/18/2009 06:01:01

I enjoyed this story and it reminded me that I too need to be slow to speak. I have often caught myself finshing my own kids sentences instead of just relaxing and listening. Then when they're in trouble, I seem to always get so upset that I don't let them speak at all. I know that my kids must get hurt with me and that they''ll remember how impatience I was as a mother. Thank you for reminding me that even as a mother I have to be slow to speak with my children. I love my children (my little lambs as a call them) too much for them to remember me as an angry, quick to speak, impatient mother. Thank you thank you for the much needed reminder!!!!

MECHELLE B 07/18/2009 14:37:22

Thank you for the wonderful advice in each daily devotional. Each time I read one it teaches me something about myself. I am a Christian and homeschool our 10 year old daughter and it is a blessing to hear that others are facing the same difficulties as we do. I was not raised in a Christian home and the teachings you give me helps me learn how a Christian parent should show their children how to grow into a loving adult. I thank you again for all the encouragement and biblical references to study. I am excited and looking forward to a new year of homeschooling. God Bless AOP!

DEE DEE G 07/18/2009 18:44:00

Thank you for the reminder of a principle that is always timely.

TONYA H 07/22/2009 20:14:47

I read this devotion a day after scolding my daughter for not obeying right away in a task I'd given her. It was later that day that I learned that what I was asking of her was a LOT harder than I thought. It wasn't until I tried to do it myself that I fully understood her difficulty. While I do believe children should be quick to obey parents, I also know parents must be quick to listen to (and attempt to understand) children. Once I did what I was asking of her I went back to her and apologized. I cannot express how bad I felt. Then, to read this devotion the next morning made my lesson complete! Priceless.

JILL G 07/18/2011 08:12:07

I really needed this today. Thank you.

CHRISTINA L 07/18/2011 11:22:40

My opinion: It\'s ok to let your children know when their not doing as their supposed to. When their lazy, they need to be told sternly. I\'m not running a military base, but my kids better heed to their chores and mind me. I\'ve got to live with them and they can\'t drive me crazy, so I give them the correction they need so I don\'t lose it b/c they\'ve gotten too bad off. Maybe you\'re children aren\'t as stubborn and hard headed as mine and maybe they are mainly good kids. But not everyone lives a dream world of happy bliss without a little tough love.

GORDEN M 07/18/2012 07:12:33

Christina L,

I don\'t know why everyone is giving you bad ratings on your comment. I understand why children sometimes don\'t behave and that you need to disipline them.

ELIZABETH C 07/18/2012 13:56:00

I personally have to take heed to this advice when it comes to my tone of voice. Gently and patiently loving these children is my goal; my tone of voice doesn\'t isn\'t always a reflection of the grace I pray that I share with my children. Thank you AO for a gentle and wise reminder.

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